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Groups push for gay-inclusive hate crime bill

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A coalition of civil rights organizations is pledging their support for the passage of a bill that adds gays, lesbians and the transgendered to the protection of federal Hate Crime laws.

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act–more commonly known as the “Matthew Shepard Act”–would allow the federal government to investigate and prosecute cases of violence motivated by a person’s gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability — in addition to the existing categories. Wade Henderson is president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. In a telephone news conference Tuesday, Henderson said the cooperation of several different groups in pushing for the bill shows its significance.

HENDERSON: “The representative group of so many in the civil rights and civil liberties community, the religious community, and those organizations who have lived with these crimes through their organizational work on a daily basis tells you how important this bill is, not just for these groups, but for the country as a whole.”

Henderson said the coalition is optimistic about the passage of the bill, given the support of several top lawmakers.

HENDERSON: “We’re pretty confident that with the support of so many in the leadership of both houses that we can expect to see this bill enacted into law during this Congress.”

Henderson says the coalition expects the House to vote on the Matthew Shepard Act sometime Wednesday.

–Amanda Magnus

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Written by OutQ News staff

April 28, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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